Palestinians have been stabbing random Israelis daily for weeks, and on cue myriad foreign commentators have been trotting out the usual "root causes" arguments to explain their actions: Israeli settlements, Palestinians' collective despair, the Netanyahu government's policies.
Then again, we could just as well blame Farfour.
A bellicose and excitable Mickey Mouse clone with a whiny voice, Farfour was a costumed character on a popular Palestinian children's educational program, "Tomorrow's Pioneers," on the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV. The Farfour show was not concerned with innocent horseplay to entertain the kiddos and teach them their ABCs. Instead, the creepy rodent taught Palestinian children about the glories of jihad. In one episode he exhorted "tomorrow's pioneers" (i.e. future jihadists) to liberate "all of Palestine" (i.e. the land of Israel) from the Jewish usurpers. "Beloved Palestine taught us to be soldiers of Allah," a young boy sang as Farhoud cheered. "Oh Jerusalem it's the time of death and we will fight a war."
During a subsequent episode, Farfour, who liked to rhapsodize about the AK-47 assault rifle to Palestinian children, came to an untimely death "at the hands of the criminals, the murderers of innocent children" — Israelis. Farfour was replaced by equally spiteful characters who carried on demonizing Israelis in his stead: Nahoul the bee and Assoud the rabbit. Assoud threatened to "finish off the Jews and eat them" before he, too, wound up murdered by the Jews. On his deathbed he urged Palestinian children to avenge him by "liberating" Haifa and Tel Aviv.
And so the pathologies of older generations have been passed down to the youngest ones. That Hamas ideologues think nothing of employing cuddly animals for ensnaring children's minds in their own hateful and homicidal ideology is right up there with the depravity of Nazi propagandists who in storybooks like The Poisonous Mushroom sought to indoctrinate German children against Jews through outrageous libels dressed up as cautionary fairy tales.
Were Ahmed and Hassan Manasra, 13 and 15 respectively, fans of Farhoud and his friends? We may never know. What we do know is that Al Aqsa TV's mascots (or rather, their creators) would have approved of these two Palestinian cousins, who recently stabbed two Israelis in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev. One of the victims was a 13-year-old boy who was out on a ride on his bicycle and barely survived being stabbed repeatedly. The boy, the same age as Ahmed, was knifed simply for being a Jew. Ahmed and Hassan chanced upon him, outside a convenience store, in their search for some Israeli passersby to murder, following the example of myriad other wannabe shahids (martyrs). "I went there to stab Jews," Ahmed, who was hit by a car while fleeing the scene, told Israeli police. Hassan was shot dead when, with a knife in hand, he tried to charge an Israeli policeman in an incident captured on CCTV cameras.
The two cousins' juvenile murder spree is hardly an isolated case. Many of the Palestinian terrorists — who have stabbed Israeli pedestrians and commuters within reach without distinction — have been in their teens. They've come of age in a social milieu where many Palestinians' entire identity continues to be defined by their opposition to the Jewish state. In schools, in mosques, in public broadcasts and at home, Palestinian children are told incessantly that they're the only rightful inheritors of all the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, and that their divinely mandated mission is to drive the Zionist usurpers back into the sea in a river of blood. The Jews, they're told, are genocidal interlopers in Palestine with no legitimate historical and moral claims to any inch of it.
Some Palestinians can hardly wait to begin schooling children in a violent, lifelong opposition to Jews. A few days ago, the Middle East Media Research Institute has revealed, Abdulhaleem Abuesha, a Palestinian man who works as a teacher in the Madaba refugee camp in Jordan, posted a video on his Facebook page of his young daughter holding a large kitchen knife. "I want to stab a Jew," the girl declares with a cheeky smile to the camera. "Why do you want to stab a Jew?" Abuesha quizzes his daughter. "Because they stole our land," she responds dutifully. "Allah willing [you will stab one]!" he assures her. Abuesha also posted a picture of his son, a mere toddler, with a large knife on the same social media site. How cute.
Around the same time, Hiba Yaseen, who works as a teacher in a Palestinian school operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), uploaded a picture of her own daughter to Facebook. In it, the girl, who is around four, wears a Hamas headband and stares somberly into the camera while flashing the one-finger salute of militant Islamists. A superimposed caption in Arabic reads: "Dying for the sake of Allah is our loftiest hope!" No prizes for guessing what Yaseen teaches Palestinian children in her school.
It's this toxic hand-me-down brew of jihadism, denialism and self-imposed victimhood that has poisoned the minds of many young Palestinians through relentless cradle-to-the-grave incitement against Jews. Thus, just as their elders have been for decades, so too many Palestinian youths are eager to murder Israelis, while other Palestinians, young and old, cheer them on. Here's how a Palestinian teenager, who looked to be around 14, responded the other day when asked by a TV reporter how he felt about the recent stabbings of Israelis. "It makes me happy that someone from my people, from Palestine, went to stab Jews," the boy explained. "We taught the Jews a lesson!"
They certainly did. This is what that lesson is: yet another generation of Palestinians has been brainwashed into a murderous hatred of Jews.